Celestus anelpistus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae

Scientific Name: Celestus anelpistus (Schwartz, Graham & Duval, 1979)
Common Name(s):
English Giant Hispaniolan Galliwasp
Diploglossus anelpistus Schwartz, Graham & Duval, 1979

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-20
Assessor(s): Landestoy, M., Inchaustegui, S. & Hedges, B.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hanson, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): NatureServe
This species is classified as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because of its limited extent of occurrence (being known from a single locality) and it occurs in a single location, and any surviving population is presumed to be undergoing a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat. Natural habitat at the type locality has been essentially destroyed, although if the species occurred more widely a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat can be inferred. A reported sighting of a giant galliwasp from 2004 might have been of Celestus anelpistus, however the continued survival of this species is in need of confirmation.
Date last seen: 1977
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Dominican Republic and only known from the type series, collected in San Cristobal Province (Henderson an Powell 2009). It has been collected at about 170 m asl (M. Landestoy S. Inchaustegui pers. comm. 2015). The type locality is within a small valley; it is possible that this reflects a remnant population of a species that was once more widespread, as while there are a number of endemics in the general area (S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2016) this locality is not otherwise known to be a centre of endemism (M. Landestoy pers. comm. 2016). The presence of different large Celestus species in northern Hispaniola suggests that it may always have been absent at least from this area (M. Landestoy pers. comm. 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Dominican Republic
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is only known from the type series, collected in 1977, and is considered very rare. Revisiting the type locality, M. Landestoy (unpubl. data) failed to rediscover the species, and additionally interviewed local villagers. While residents were familiar with Celestus species, none were aware of a surviving population of this large lizard in the vicinity of the type locality.  There is a recent reported sighting of a giant galliwasp made by a botanist from the National Botanical Garden of Santo Domingo who was doing field work in the Jarabacoa region of the Cordillera Central (S.J. Incháustegui and M. Hernández pers. comm. 2004); the specific identity of this record is however unknown.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is presumed to have occurred in mesic lowland broadleaf forest. The type series was collected during the clearance of trees for a farm; the area has been under cultivation ever since, firstly as a large sugarcane plantation and latterly as an orange grove (M. Landestoy pers. comm. 2016).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use of or trade in this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species, if it still exists, is threatened by loss of habitat, especially deforestation for agricultural activities (planting crops and creating pastures). Lizards are also killed by dogs, cats and mongooses. The introduction and spread of the mongoose on Hispaniola, combined with habitat alteration, are most likely the proximate causes for the recent precipitous decline in giant species of Celestus (Powell and Henderson 2003). The type locality has been under cultivation since the species was described, and the only records are of specimens taken during clearance of the natural vegetation. It is likely to have become extinct as a result, at least at the known locality, as local farmers are not familiar with a surviving population. Strips of gallery forest nevertheless survive where it may persist, and while the species was not recorded in targeted surveys in this habitat (M. Landestoy pers. obs. 2016) it remains possible that the species persists here.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Law 64-00, General Law on Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic establishes general protection for all its biodiversity, under articles 138 and 140. Article 139 gives protected status to all species considered endangered. Presidential Decree 801-02 reconfirms this protection for all wild reptile species and other taxa of the Dominican Republic.

An intensive field survey is required to determine if this species still exists, and if so, to develop an appropriate species recovery and management plan.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: The Threats section erroneously included what looked like a citation of a reference i.e., "M. Landestoy et al. 2016", this has been corrected to "M. Landestoy pers. obs. 2016".

Citation: Landestoy, M., Inchaustegui, S. & Hedges, B. 2016. Celestus anelpistus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T39258A116419247. . Downloaded on 22 July 2018.
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